PROVO, UTAH: Set amid the stunning mountains of Provo, Utah, LaVell Edwards Stadium marks the home turf of the Brigham Young University Cougars. What started as a 30,000-seat bowl in 1964 expanded dramatically over the years and now seats over 64,000 BYU fans, a capacity that is frequently met several times during the regular season. Recently, Salt Lake City-based Poll Sound replaced the stadium's aging, mid-1990s-era loudspeakers with an array of JH-90 Jericho Horns, Danley Sound Labs' latest revolutionary offering, bolstered by Danley subwoofers. In contrast to the old system, which, like almost every bowl sound system in the world, was dominated by mid-range, the new Danley Jericho system boasts a hi-fi balance of low end and high end, even 700 feet away!
"There are two main problems that have plagued long-range sound systems for as long as anyone has had the wherewithal to provide sound
reinforcement," said Deward Timothy, senior sound system designer at Poll Sound. "First, the high end falls off. That's an especially big problem in the dry air of Utah where absorption is very high. Second, the low end isn't directional and so systems seldom have the horsepower to provide convincing low end at long distances. Compounding these two problems, the mid-range horns reach their maximum efficiency between these extremes. You're left with what everyone recognizes as stereotypical big-bowl reinforcement: inarticulate honking midrange."
The old sound system at LaVell Edwards had done, perhaps, a slightly better job than most at striking out into frequencies on either side of the well-represented midrange, but that modest improvement was slowly being erased by the ravages of time. After fifteen years in the searing sun and biting cold of the high desert, parts were fatigued, weathered, and failing. The school asked Poll Sound to replace just the loudspeakers and amps, leaving the well-functioning front-end in place. The hope was to bring a noticeable improvement in fidelity, as BYU uses the sound system not just for announcements, but also - in conjunction with giant screens - music videos, fight songs, a shaggy collection of fun multi-media ephemera, and the all-important revenue-generating commercials.
"The school officials had a chance to listen to Danley's new Jericho Horn at InfoComm, and they recognized that it delivered the full-range fidelity they were hoping for," said Timothy. The Jericho Horn and its smaller sibling, the Genesis Horn, are Danley's answer to the line array, providing the right kind of coverage for long throws without the two serious drawbacks of conventional line array technology: destructive self-interference and a frequency response that varies based on the listener's distance to the array. The Jericho Horn is built upon three patent-pending technologies - Synergy Horn, Paraline, and Shaded Amplitude Lens - and uses fourteen drivers: six 18-inch, six 6-inch, and two 4-inch two-way.
LaVell Edwards Stadium is a true bowl with no tiers with which to do a distributed sound solution. All of the sound must emanate from the giant video screen on the north end of the stadium. It is a daunting 750 feet from that location to the stands on the south side of the stadium, running end zone to end zone. Timothy determined that four Danley JH-90 Jericho Horns and six Danley TH-812 subwoofers would do the trick. He split them down the middle, placing half the units on one side of the video screen and half on the other side. To ensure that the new system will perform beautifully decades into the future, Danley shipped them with full weather protection.
To provide a small amount of fill immediately to the sides of the north video screen, Timothy added a Danley SH-50 and SH-96 on either end. "There is a small zone of coverage where the Jerichos are off-axis," he said. "They still provide a good midrange there, but we turned to the side fill speakers for low-mids and high-end sizzle. Of course, those seats get plenty of very low end from the subwoofers." The school requested amplifiers that they could comprehensively monitor. All together, twenty-nine ElectroVoice TG5 and TG7 touring grade amplifiers deliver over 145,000 watts to the Danley loudspeakers and subs.
"To anyone who is used to hearing the indistinct, midrange honk of a classic football stadium sound system, this new Danley system is a whole new experience," said Timothy. "There is true, full fidelity almost anywhere you go, and the low end is present with convincing SPLs down to 40 Hz even on the far end of the stadium. It's not quite the fidelity that you get in a room with nice loudspeakers, but it is much closer to that level of fidelity than it is to every other football stadium that's out there. I was impressed by how little we had to tune it, relatively speaking. We added some high-end boost to achieve our targets at the far end of the stadium, but that, of course, is predicated on the fact that the Jerichos actually put out true high end that we could boost!"
ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for "outside the box" thinking in professional audio technology.
PHOTO CAPTIONS FIRST IMAGE LaVell Edwards Stadium the 64,000-seat home of the Brigham Young University Cougars. SECOND IMAGE Tom Danley (left) pictured with Charles Cox of BYU, who approved use of Danley loudspeakers for the recent sound system overhaul in LaVell Edwards Stadium. THIRD IMAGE The scoreboard, which is situated on the stadium's north end, a daunting 750 feet from the south end, houses the assortment of Danley loudspeakers that successfully emanate the sound throughout the entire stadium.